Please recommend some comfortable wedding heels!
February 24, 2015 1:55 AM   Subscribe

So I have recently spent an entire day in the mall trying on high heels. I really never wear them, don't care for them, and, on my more dramatic days, liken them to eyelash curlers as instruments of torture and oppression. That being said...

I need heels to bring myself closer to my fiance's height. He's 5'10" and I'm 5'1". I was going to be ambitious and brave 3 or 4 inch heels (and actually ordered my dress with these heights in mind), but after trying on a bunch of heels in all different brands, I'm starting to think a 2-inch heel will be the most I can manage.

I'm looking for white or silver to match my ivory dress. I would love to hear any suggestions from people about the most comfortable yet wedding-appropriate high heels you know of. I don't want to feel uncomfortable or in pain an hour or so into my wedding, as this would probably make the rest of the evening rather unpleasant.

Thank you so much for any ideas.
posted by madonna of the unloved to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (37 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
My spouse and I have a similar height difference. I wore SuperTrash heels in our wedding, and they were comfortable, even though they were much taller than I normally wear. Many of their styles are flashy, but they have some subdued styles, too. I did have to buy a size larger than I normally wear because the toe box was pretty small.
posted by neushoorn at 2:25 AM on February 24, 2015

Did you try on wedged heels? A normal four inch heel tilts you forward much more and might feel uncomfortable if you don't wear them normally, but wedges reduce the angle that your feet are at and can be much comfier. I'm not in the US so can't advise on a specific shoe, but SuperTrash above had some wedges.
posted by ellieBOA at 2:40 AM on February 24, 2015 [5 favorites]

What's your budget?

What's your location? If possible, I would recommend you go to a nice shoe department store where you will have a selection to choose from and someone to help you.

Otherwise try Zappo's who have a great return policy and good selection.

One way to cheat on height is to get something with a platform. You can add at least another inch to the height without making your arch actually go higher if the sole area has a platform. For example, these heels say 4.5inch heel, but the platform is 3/4inch so you will feel like you are wearing 3inch heels although you get another good inch with them. Here's a filtered selection on Zappo's.

Avoid slingbacks. If you try on ankle straps, walk around a fair bit on them as they really depend shoe to shoe on comfort. Invest in some gel sole inserts for the day.

Congrats and good luck!
posted by like_neon at 2:52 AM on February 24, 2015 [2 favorites]

Oh and I had my dress pulled up into a bustle for the evening and when the real party kicked off I wore flats to dance. It might be a good idea to stow some flats in the reception room as well.
posted by like_neon at 2:53 AM on February 24, 2015 [7 favorites]

Can you try on some ballroom / latin dance shoes locally? They're often available in white satin and they're by far the most comfortable heels I've worn. You will trash them if you're wearing them outdoors, but you're unlikely to be wear your wedding shoes lots of times anyway. You can get some styles in 3 inch heels but you may have to order them seperately. Most of my dancing friends have worn dance shoes for their wedding.
posted by kadia_a at 3:28 AM on February 24, 2015 [3 favorites]

Have you tried Aerosoles? Their shoes are designed for comfort. Every single pair of their shoes isn't the cutest, but they do have some really nice dress shoes sometimes that are so comfortable.
posted by Enchanting Grasshopper at 3:57 AM on February 24, 2015 [2 favorites]

In general, a thicker heel, rounder toe, and ankle strap will all make a shoe more comfortable. Try sizing up a half size and using gel inserts, and avoid sandals.

That being said, I would not try anything higher than 3 inches in your scenario, and if 2 is what feels comfortable, stick with it. Remember that they're only going to get less comfortable as the day goes on.

It's your wedding day. Don't spend it in aching feet.
posted by snickerdoodle at 4:05 AM on February 24, 2015 [9 favorites]

Mr. gudrun is 6'3" and I am 5'2". I wore flats to my wedding, really nice flats. I was comfortable, and the few extra inches heels would have added were really not worth the pain, since I have real trouble with heels (weak ankles). You can get creative with wedding photos to show both of you (he was semi crouching now and then.)

like_neon has some great advice; if you do go with some kind of heel, make sure you wear them a bit before the big day, at least around the house, and consider changing into nice flats if there will be any kind of dancing. Who wants to start the honeymoon/marriage with aching feet, blisters, or a sprained ankle?
posted by gudrun at 4:33 AM on February 24, 2015 [8 favorites]

Seconding wedge heels, way more comfortable, and if you can get ones with a bit of a platform, you can add a lot of height without actually putting your foot into too angled a position. Something like this would be cool. I actually have these, and I can stand and dance all night in them and be comfortable, and they add about 4 inches to my height.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 4:37 AM on February 24, 2015

As I've gotten older, I can tolerate heels less and less. However, I can wear Chie Mihara heels without a problem and walk block and blocks in them and stand for hours. They're not cheap, but they're becoming the only heels in my shoe collection. I try to find them on sale! I see a few white styles in the latest collection.
posted by houseofdanie at 4:50 AM on February 24, 2015 [2 favorites]

I think Cole Haan shoes are the most comfortable (especially their Nike Air line), but I think that's probably because they personally fit my foot shape the best. My advice is to make sure you're trying on the right size - which may not be the size you think you are. I had issues with high heels for literally years before figuring it out that I wear a half size smaller in heels than in flats. It was a real duh! moment for me.

Another suggestion for comfortable wedges is the Anne Klein Tamarrow Wedge.
posted by Yellow Silver Maple at 4:51 AM on February 24, 2015

I'm also going to suggest platforms- but not for your shoes. Why not put a stable box a few inches high under the carpet runner thing for the ceremony, and use it in the photos as well (if your dress is long enough to cover it of course). If it's good enought for Tom Cruise…
posted by cilantro at 4:55 AM on February 24, 2015 [1 favorite]

Seconding snickerdoodle's advice, and the advice to bring a pair of flats to change into. Shoes can feel great at first and awful after an hour or two, especially when you're on your feet the whole time.

I'm not sure I'd recommend platforms for you. They can make a higher heel more comfortable, but they aren't any easier to walk in.
posted by Metroid Baby at 4:59 AM on February 24, 2015 [1 favorite]

Seconding the dance shoes suggestion. I also avoid heels in day to day life; I ended up wearing the white version of these which, alas, don't seem to be getting made anymore, but there are still some pairs floating around elsewhere on the internet. My feet were slightly dead at the end of the evening, but it wasn't anything like what I'm normally like in heels.
posted by damayanti at 5:00 AM on February 24, 2015

If you do go with flats for your reception, Toms has a great pair of wedding flats. So cute and can't beat them for comfort! Great for showers and after wedding wear too!!
posted by pearlybob at 5:22 AM on February 24, 2015

Another good search term is character shoes. They are made to be secure, stable, and reasonably comfortable for long periods on your feet. Any dance or theater supply near you will have some you can try on.
posted by ersatzkat at 5:57 AM on February 24, 2015 [3 favorites]

I never ever wear heels, but I wore Tsubo Acreas for my wedding and they were amazing. The soles have some cushioning and the 3 inch heel was manageable by an amateur. I would really rather die than wear heels, and I kept these on my feet for hours and hours.

But if I had the chance to re-do my wedding in the present day, knowing what I know now about the sartorial role of shoes in my bridal kit, I would wear Chuck Taylors and not give a damn.
posted by Seppaku at 6:03 AM on February 24, 2015 [1 favorite]

If you're hoping for heels, I love Irregular Choice shoes both for style and comfort-level. Their Abigail's Party is especially easy to wear, as it fits more like a boot than a shoe, if that fits your style.

Otherwise, agree with others that wedges are comfier.
posted by Mchelly at 6:12 AM on February 24, 2015

Sigursson Morrison heels are by far and away the only heels I can still wear into my 30s. Seriously - I have a pair of 4-inch high mules I can truck around in for hours!

They are EXPENSIVE, I know. But they also have amazing sales (I just scored a pair of ankle boots and a pair of wedge heels for $90 each). Especially if you can get to one of their physical stores.

Here is a really lovely option. They come in both silver and white.
posted by functionequalsform at 6:21 AM on February 24, 2015

Anything by Easy Spirit or FootSmart.

And flat ballet-style slippers (not shoes) for dancing.
posted by Buttons Bellbottom at 6:23 AM on February 24, 2015 [1 favorite]

I went with heels from Camper (similar to these) and had no complaints, despite not normally wearing heels.

Cole Haan may have some great silver choices. I'd lean towards a wedge.
posted by typecloud at 6:28 AM on February 24, 2015

Another brand to look at is Born. They won't have many heel options, but I see these on Zappos..
posted by deludingmyself at 6:44 AM on February 24, 2015

I wore a pare of pale gold Ecco wedge sandals with a 2" heel to my wedding last year. They were very comfortable, and I am also not a heels-wearer. Bonus was not sinking into the grass during the photos. I can't find the ones I wore, but these are similar but with a higher heel.
posted by cabingirl at 7:05 AM on February 24, 2015

Another option is to see if your dress can be bustled in a way that makes it shorter. That way you can wear heels for the ceremony and formal pictures, and dance the night away in comfortable flats that no one's going to see anyways.
posted by fermezporte at 7:14 AM on February 24, 2015

My shoes came off directly after the ceremony.

I had a friend who got a pair of these in white, she put in ribbons for laces, and they were perfect for the reception.

Here's a pair in white that might work for you.

Please trust me on this, I'd rather hem my dress than wear uncomfortable shoes to my wedding. You will be hungry, stressed, uncomfortable in your clothes, this is NOT the time to neglect your feet.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 7:19 AM on February 24, 2015

Anthropologie's wedding website has some really beautiful shoes in lower heel heights if your budget is flexible. Most of them are 3" but there are some flats and 2" ones too. I like that a lot of them have ample ankle straps or t-straps so you won't have to worry about them sliding off.
posted by Mouse Army at 8:06 AM on February 24, 2015

I replied about suggesting dance shoes. I don't know much about US brands, but if you were in the UK I would recommend these strappy latin sandals, available in white satin and with a heel height of up to 3.5 inches.

Depending on your style choice, you might prefer these white satin court shoes with a heel height of 2.5 inches.

If you do go for dance shoes, I personally find latin shoes more comfortable than ballroom, and I find flared heels more comfortable than straight. As someone who never wears heels otherwise, I can cope with 8 hours on my feet with dance shoes on (though I tend to choose 2.5 inches rather than 3.5).

Good luck!
posted by kadia_a at 8:06 AM on February 24, 2015

I wore a Nina shoe very similar to the Forbes for our wedding. Mine were 3" and comfortable until about 8 pm, where I changed it to flip-flops. I'd planned on doing that all along. Nina makes fairly well-constructed formal shoes compared to some other brands.
posted by notjustthefish at 8:09 AM on February 24, 2015

You've gotten a lot of great suggestions above. I mainly came in to say, if you are committed to wearing heels, and want them to be comfortable, they will not be cheap. I adore Bella Vita, myself.
posted by RogueTech at 8:29 AM on February 24, 2015

Eight hours on a heel is tough, yo, and I say this as a woman who wears almost exclusively heels from April through October every year.

That being said, Cole Haan makes a line of shoes with Nike Air padding, and they're the comfiest heels I have ever worn in my life. Once, in an emergency, I flat-out ran three blocks in the rain in 3.5 inch ones, and I've worn them for four or five hours and still been able to walk. For me, since I have big ol' duck feet, the key is a big toe-box in the front, so my toes don't get squashed together.

Right now, CH doesn't have a lot, but as other people have mentioned, wedges are great if your wedding will be outdoors or will be taking pictures on grass. This is off-white and slightly lower than two inches, but might work.

Alternatively, you can try buying from the consignment/last-chance stores: this or this? Maybe the dream lives? At least a little?
posted by joyceanmachine at 8:57 AM on February 24, 2015 [1 favorite]

I'd also give Clarks a shot, or Aris Allens if you're open to the dance shoe suggestion; neither line is super-formal, but I've been comfortable dancing and walking around in both for most of a day, and I'm not a heel person. The advice above about thicker heels being more comfortable and stable is very true in my experience, and both tend to prioritize comfort.
posted by tautological at 9:25 AM on February 24, 2015 [1 favorite]

I contacted Zappo's ahead of ordering wedding shoes to try, and let them know that I was planning on ordering 48726976496 pairs of shoes and trying them on like Cinderella in preparation for my wedding. Their customer service wrote back to me and upgraded me right off the bat to VIP, so that I could enjoy one-day shipping, and sent me a sweet note. (I was mostly just concerned that they'd flag me for fraud, so wanted to get ahead of the game.) Sometimes you can't tell how you'll feel in a pair of shoes until you've worn them a long time, longer than just trying them on in the store. I started ordering shoes from Zappos a year before my wedding, and wearing them around the house for 4-6-8 hours at a time to try them on. Yes, I returned all but one pair, but YES, I found the pair, and YES, I am a Zappos customer for life.
posted by juniperesque at 9:37 AM on February 24, 2015 [3 favorites]

Nthing the suggestion of dance shoes. I hate heels and find them very uncomfortable, but when I go out dancing I often wear my dance-shoe heels instead of flats b/c they are MORE comfortable (better arch support). I have a pair of Very Fine brand shoes that are quite comfortable and also not too expensive. Amazon has some promising options.
posted by aka burlap at 10:26 AM on February 24, 2015

Nthing everyone who said wear heels down the aisle, bring a pair of flats to change into. I'm 5'0", I rarely wear heels (and usually max out at 2"), I wore 4" heels to my wedding, I wore them around the house to practice walking in beforehand, and I was still so done with them by the end of the ceremony. Peeling them off to walk up the grassy knoll post-ceremony to the awaiting car felt so wonderful. I put them back on for the cocktail hour, and then wore flats on the dance floor and was much happier.
posted by Pandora Kouti at 10:29 AM on February 24, 2015 [2 favorites]

I have the Cole Haan Mariela pump that joyceanmachine linked to above and they are the comfiest heels I have ever worn. I love heels but have a low tolerance for foot discomfort. Definitely order from zappos, and if you do decide to go with that shoe get a bunch of different sizes and widths to try out.
posted by pintapicasso at 6:37 PM on February 24, 2015

I rarely ever wear heels, and find that even in comfortable ones my legs get tired from using different muscles, so I suggest practice for that reason. The one trick I've found to wearable heels is that some have a slightly different shape to the footbed at the heel - rather than the usual smooth slope down to the ball, there's a slight cup under the heel. This seems to have the effect of helping keep more weight in your heels, rather than making your whole foot smoosh down onto your toes. It's a huge difference. Unfortunately it only seems to appear in very expensive shoes for some reason, but not all.
posted by sepviva at 7:31 PM on February 24, 2015

Thank you for all the great suggestions! I will need to sit down and look at all of them in detail. I love the idea of wearing heels for the ceremony/pictures and then more comfortable shoes for the reception. Telling myself it's only for half an hour or 45 minutes makes it more bearable.
posted by madonna of the unloved at 3:21 AM on February 25, 2015

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